All posts filed under: Salads

Romaine Hearts with Caesar Salad Dressing

 I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like a cold, fresh caesar salad.  Few things go better with steak or a big bowl of pasta.  Most bottled caesar dressings are more vinegar & oil based versus the real deal which is made with eggs, olive oil, anchovies, and other wonderful bits.  I’ve experimented with different authentic caesar dressing recipes over the years, and I find they never turn out quite right.  Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of the 1/2 cup of oil they call for… or I worry that my eggs aren’t fresh enough.  So when I stumbled on this version, deliciously served at a fabulous restaurant for years, I had to try it.  The secret ingredient: mayo and no eggs.  And it’s full of other surprises (like using grated pecorino romano NOT parmesan.) I slightly modified this recipe to suit what I had on hand and to keep the calories down.  I also included my quick homemade croutons recipe below. First some minced garlic and a teaspoon of anchovy paste (you can substitute 2 minced …

Haricots Verts with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

 I’m a salad fanatic, and I’m always trying to think of salads that don’t rely on lettuce to do the heavy lifting.  When I saw these french beans in the market, a light bulb went off.  Here’s my take on a frenchy haricots verts salad, perfect for Summer.  Super easy, super fresh. First you need to trim the beans, flash boil them, then plunge them into an ice bath to quickly stop the cooking process and give the beans a bright green color.  Be careful not to overcook!  You want the beans to be crisp and have a real bite to them. While you’re waiting for the water to boil to cook the beans, prepare the pine nuts and red onion.  Mince the red onion and toast the pine nuts (watch carefully–don’t burn them!) Now bring it all together.  Whisk the garlic oil with the lemon juice (see MC’s Romaine Salad for instructions on garlic oil).  Add the french beans and the red onion.  Toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with …

MC’s Romaine Salad with Red Onion and Garlic Lemon Dressing

This salad has been in my family for decades.  My grandmother made it for years and then my mother took over, adding her own little touches.  My mom has served this for a family of four on a random Tuesday night and to over 50 people at a formal Christmas dinner.  It fits in and impresses anyone, anytime.  It has reached a point of perfection, so much so that Nick literally wants to eat it every night (and sometimes pack some for lunch the next day.) The ingredients and methods are simple, but an important note: you MUST make the infused garlic oil (for the garlic lemon dressing) at least 24 hours ahead of time.  If you try to rush this step, you will be unimpressed with the results.  Here you go, MC’s legendary romaine salad.  First, the dressing. Roughly chop 8 cloves of peeled garlic and plop into a glass jar.  Nothing fancy here. If you’re using a smallish jar, fill with canola oil to the top.  If using a larger jar, just go …

Greek orzo salad with sun-dried tomato and feta

When it’s hot outside, and you’re grilling, side dishes need to be kept simple.  Usually a few ears of corn, cole slaw, and a bag of chips are the perfect companions to burgers, hot dogs, and any grilled chicken or meat.  I like to make pasta salads too–“kitchen sink” type of pasta salads.  Any bite-size pasta shape works (corkscrew, bow-tie, penne, whatever) plus the entire contents of my vegetable drawer (broccoli, grape tomatoes, red onion, etc.) and some Newman’s Own light Italian dressing.  Mixed together and chilled–super simple and always a crowd pleaser. I was watching an episode of “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network, and watched Ina Garten as she made a tomato feta pasta salad.  Her dressing looked awesome (and it was a far cry from bottled dressing), so I decided to take that cue from her and improvise the rest with my fridge’s current “kitchen sink” of offerings. First, I began by boiling half a box of orzo, rinsing for several minutes under cold water, then spraying with Pam to prevent from …

Apple, Chevre (or Brie), and Honey Salad

{image courtesy: Sweet Paul Magazine} Isn’t that gorgeous?!  I am happy to introduce Sweet Paul Magazine.  It’s SWEET, indeed!  A free, online magazine, I found myself quickly clicking through the e-pages… devouring the gorgeous food styling and photography.  Mouth watering, I did a double-click particularly on the apple salad (pictured above) and the ramp and pancetta frittata.  What I really love about Sweet Paul is that it combines cooking with my other passion… crafts!  Move over, Martha…. Paul would like a seat at the table too. Check him out!  Sweet Paul Magazine Apple and Chevre Salad with Honey Vinaigrette Serves 6 4 red apples, thinly sliced Juice of 1 lemon 2 cups herb salad mix 3 ounces chevre cheese, thinly sliced 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons honey Salt to taste Soak apples in lemon juice (to prevent browning).  Place apple slices, salad mix, and chevre in layers on 4 plates (as pictured).  In a bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt.  Drizzle around the salad and serve. Olive …

Escarole Salad (with pickled red onions)

As promised, here is the salad that showcases the yummy pickled red onions.  While I love escarole, it’s a major pain to find it (at least, high-quality bunches) and even more painful to clean, as it’s loaded with dirt on virtually every leaf.  If you live near a Wegman’s by chance, the best grocery store in PA, they sell bags of escarole already cleaned and chopped.  Since the grocery stores in West Chester don’t sell it that way, I went with something much easier to find and clean–red leaf lettuce.   I teared those beautifully colored leaves apart, and got them nice and clean. Next I measured out the hazelnuts (toasted first, of course, to bring out the flavor), grated pecorino, and parsley and gave it a whirl. Once everything is whirled together (just a couple taps on the lever), you get this awesome crumble.  Finally, you throw in the red leaf lettuce, a handful of those awesome pickled red onions, a tablespoon or two of the pickled red onion liquids and some olive oil …

Pickled Red Onions

Why do some things just sound so complicated? Complicated as in, making buttery croissants or anything with fondant. For reasons I can’t explain, I put “pickling” in that category of complicated… until I tried this recipe from Anne Burrell. I have been a huge fan of Burrell since the first time I dined at Centro Vinoteca in the West Village of NYC. When I discovered she had her own show on the Food Network, I couldn’t wait to start watching and to see which recipes she would reveal from Centro Vinoteca. In browsing through her collection of recipes, I spotted her recipe for escarole salad with pickled red onions. Yaay!!! I loved that salad! You can imagine my surprise when I realized that “pickling” those red onions, was super duper easy. And the results were super duper delicious. A note on the pickled red onions: Though I made these for the escarole salad, I happily had leftovers. These pickled onions would be wonderful on sandwich or hot dog. (Nick is experimenting with hot dog combos, …